Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Opium production still a major problem in southern Afghanistan

According to a statement released Monday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Afghanistan has increased its in-country production of opium, UN News Service reported the same day. The southern province of Helmand, a region that is also plagued by instability, is responsible for 42 percent of the world’s opium,

“There are close links between criminal networks that deal in drugs and the insurgents,” Christina Gynna Oguz, the UNODC representative in Afghanistan said. “Together they provide both the money and the environment for instability in this country.”

While Afghanistan’s opium has generally been exported for production into heroin and morphine, processing within Afghan borders is on the rise, creating a growing national epidemic. At least 50,000 Afghans are addicted to heroin, and this number is steadily increasing due to the return of refugees who have used the drug abroad. Many Afghans in rural areas, unable to secure sufficient medicine from a struggling health-care system, also use opium as a pain reliever.

Oguz noted that the drug issue “represents a window of opportunity for the Government in particular, but also the international community, to do something about the drug problem. It is possible to have success in areas where security is better and where there is good governance.”

For the full article, click here.



Post a Comment

<< Home